Monday, July 30, 2007

Visiting with Sue, and Macrobiotic Mania!

On Monday night Sue was kind enough to loan me the use of her house once again, so I've posted pictures and recipes in her honor!!

Sue-riffic pictures. A few from her visit with my mom in June followed by excessive cuteness in the form of her cat Jack. (His favorite things to curl up with - my computer, and the alpaca blanket my mom brought Sue from Ecuador. How could I hold back!)

And I finally posted the recipes from my macrobiotic feast! Sue and my mom were kind enough to hang out on my front porch and help me out with the leftovers from this homework assignment, as pictured above. We were all more than impressed with this round. Definitely the blue-ribbon winning homework, on all fronts.

This way for more culinary ramblings and recipes
Polenta with fresh corn
Red Lentil Sauce with Dandelion Leaf Condiment
Arame with Sunflower Seeds, Chives & Mustard
Carrots and Broccoli with Ume Dill Dressing
Cucumber Pickle
Poached Peaches in Lemon Sauce

Friday, July 27, 2007

A happy birthday to the Big N!

I've heard she has an evil firewall that prevents her from seeing this, but I'm sending birthday wishes her way anyway.

I wish I had embarrassing pictures of little Natalia to post, but we'll have to stick with these file photos...

With Lillian (and, most importantly, Jewel cake!) way back on her 20th

Hitting the beach in Ecuador last summer

(Also, I was inspired to google my bff from elementary school, who has the same birthday as N, which was fun for the 2 seconds we were all friends in 7th grade. Turns out she's a high school gym teacher now. Good times.)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

And I almost made it out of Berkeley...

without running into an Oak Parker or wes alum. But that appears to be statistically impossible. On the way out of town I stopped at Whole Foods just to use the bathroom, and in the 30 seconds I was in the store ran into a girl from high school. I only barely recognized her after she introduced herself and I stared at her for awhile, and couldn't remember her last name or ANYTHING about her. Of course, she remembered all these details about a class we had together freshman year. yeesh. I knew my agoraphobic tendencies kept me from moving to Berkeley for a reason...

CA is purty...

Well I'm writing from Orinda on this sunny Tuesday. Was supposed to have a meeting in the city tonight, to observe a workshop put on by Leah's Pantry. Hoping to work with them in the fall when they will be adding sites in the south bay. The class ended up being postponed, but I was already set to come up to sing in Berkeley last night and stay over at Sue's so I came anyway.

This weekend's highlights
Sat - Wow did it get old charging people $30.30. But fun energy, and the store made tons of cold hard cash, so we should all have our jobs for a while longer. I haven't read the book yet, having only last night reached the place I left off left year (p304) in el misterio del principe. bah. Harry Potterness aside, after work I dashed off to see Much Ado About Nothing at Shakespeare Santa Cruz. I got free tickets to the opening night from the Literacy Volunteers, and seeing as how it's supposed to be one of the best Shakespeare festivals in the country I figured I had better take advantage. I had never seen or read Much Ado, and half-heartedly skimmed the wikipedia plot description and some analysis in the Cliff's notes at work so I wouldn't feel totally illiterate. OK, romantic comedy, meh. Granted, a romantic comedy by Shakespeare is probably better than your average J.Lo movie, and this company is known for their edgy modern interpretations, but I wasn't expecting much. But whoa... that was the most kick ass shakespeare production i've ever seen. Just funny and sexy and totally spot on. From the raving of the veteran Shakespeare SC goers around me, sounds like it was one of their better shows. Also hard to beat sitting a few feet from the stage in a little glen surrounded by redwoods, on a warm summer's evening. (Have I mentioned how there don't appear to be mosquitoes here?) (Also, the one really distracting thing about the play was that they sang Patty Griffin's "Be Careful" in the night-before-the-wedding scene... sort of poignant, sort of unnecessarily indulgent Lilith Fair kind of moment...)
Sun - Drove up to sing in Half Moon Bay. WHOA driving north on Highway 1, how amazingly beautiful you are. 1 hugs the pacific coast the whole way and is dotted with a million picturesque pull-off beaches, a lighthouse, U-pick berry farms... I stopped on the way back to join a crowd watching the vibrant colors of the windsurfers and parasailers on one beach. Also, I live right off of Mission (1 as it runs through Santa Cruz) so when i looked it up on googlemaps the directions for the hour long drive were like: turn right, drive 50 miles, turn left, turn right. the end. Uh, I think it's an understatement to call it a huge improvement on wrestling with the SC mountains and an assortment of freeways on the usual drive "over the hill".

Back to the present lovely CA afternoon... I'm off to pick some of Sue's apricots and revisit some of my Ecuadorian choral music on her piano (which, like my mom's is too nice and makes me ashamed of my grubby unskilled fingers), and then head home. On the way I'll probably check out some ethnic eateries in Berkeley that I usually only have time to gawk at longingly.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

"The cat has left town" - that forgotten country classic

1) For those of you who expressed concern, the earthquake earlier today was too far away to affect me in Santa Cruz. (4.2, centered in Oakland) Though I'll be spending Mon/Tue in the east bay, so maybe I'll get some of the promised aftershocks. Who am I kidding, I didn't feel the 4.3 that hit closer to here on July 2, nor any of the several earthquakes that hit Quito last year. If I ever had "live through an earthquake" on my todo list to begin with, it's long since changed to "notice an earthquake." My favorite quote on the subject?
Berkeley resident Hank Williams lost a few pictures, too. "I sat bolt upright in bed," he told the Associated Press. Something fell in front of his cat, "who was out the cat door and gone. The cat has left town," he said.

2) I meant to comment on this before. Who didn't love KT's israel photos????? One of my 897348576 goals for next summer has long been to do the birthright trip, but at least if I never get around to it I can live vicariously through KT.

3) It's officially Harry Potter Day, even in this time zone. I regressed from 1/2 to 1/3 of the way through Harry Potter y el misterio del principe so I'm debating whether or not to wait before I borrow a copy of the new book from work. I'm not sure I'll be able to resist after being surrounded by it for 8 hours tomorrow. Or perhaps I'll be more than sick of it. At least I don't work at Borders anymore, where they're doing (err, did) the midnight thing and people had been waiting outside the store all day. But seriously, I should be getting overtime for this.

4) Big hugs to everyone back east. Can't be with you next Saturday, but I'll sing something with you in mind this Sunday/Monday.

Monday, July 16, 2007


Great God, attend, while Zion sings
The joy that from Thy presence springs;
To spend one day with Thee on earth,
Exceeds a thousand days of mirth.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Oh, I Give Up (or, Israel Photos! Get Yer Israel Photos!)

Okay, go here for Israel photos. They're not in any sort of order and lots of them are nicked from other trip members and none of them have descriptions, but I suspect this is as good as it's ever going to get. I don't expect you'll want to look at all of them or even most of them, but there should be enough there that you can pick and choose an intriguing sampling to satisfy your voyeuristic needs. Meanwhile, I wash my hands of this whole affair.

I know I've not been pulling my blog weight of late... let's see, what have I done since last I posted?

1. Oh yeah, I went to Israel. It was amazing and mundane and troubling and fun and thought-provoking and moving and fascinating. It affected me profoundly in ways that I still don't quite understand and have trouble articulating. On the surface, it was a plain old good time. And also as annoying only as traveling on a tour bus with 40 twentysomethings for a full week can be. If you have any questions about the trip, ask away... I just have difficulty summing it up in a paragraph.

2. Read all of Sarah Waters' books in rapid succession. From favorite to least favorite: Fingersmith (SO good... every time you think you've got it figured out, a plot twist comes in out of nowhere and blows you away), Tipping the Velvet (a minor classic, just a darn good satisfying story), Affinity (one of those surprise endings that make you want to go back and read the whole book over, knowing what you do once you've finished it), and The Night Watch (well-written, but nowhere near the other three). Highly recommended. That's all I'll rave about that.

3. Went to Chicago for the 2nd annual conference of the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective (alas, I spent most of my time in conference rooms in a hotel out by the airport, otherwise I would have given you a call, Ellen & Stu!). It was a pretty remarkable conference. I'm looking forward to returning to Chicago with Rebecca someday to make my long-anticipated trip to Village Discount, which I suspect will be remarkable in a different way.

4. Had a mini-Paris reunion with Sandy & Trini in New York before I flew to Israel.

5. Co-organized an impeachment forum last Saturday that was attended by over 250 people... our four prominent speakers (including two authors of books on the case for impeaching Bush & Cheney, an investigative reporter, and the only woman to ever lead the Black Panther Party) were not quite as successful a panel as we'd hoped (I didn't get to hear any of the talks or discussion because I was out in the hall taking care of logistics, but apparently there was much off-topic rambling and bickering to be heard) - however, it at least got people in Austin talking about the subject (even if it was just to complain about the Forum...), which is good enough for us. And all my vegan baked goods got bought at the Bake Sale For Justice. Sweet. You can check out to see what our coalition is up to.

6. Threw Richard a 25th birthday party complete with cake, candles, ice cream, balloons, streamers, a "How Well Do You Know Richard?" party game, and presents. So it was three days late and I didn't manage to do anything for his actual birthday except treat him to "Ratatouille" and dinner at the Alamo... it's still good, it's still good...

7. Had my first acupuncture appointment. My chi feels better already.

8. Saw "Sicko." It was fantastic. I mean, terrible. I mean, heartbreaking in a humorous and well-filmed way.

9. Ate fried green tomatoes.

10. Went to a self-defense workshop this morning and then spent the entire afternoon on the computer, uploading Israel photos and writing this update. I think it's time to unplug myself from this machine for the rest of the weekend. I'll talk to you all next week.



Thursday, July 12, 2007

So, uh, I hear Rebecca likes to cook. Just a rumor.

I cooked all day at school. I cooked all evening for the Homeless Garden Project. I didn’t mean to cook anything in between. It was an accident. A glorious, glorious, accident.
This afternoon was meant to be dedicated to interviewing new roomies and spending quality time in line at the post office. (Only slight sarcasm intended. I still heart the USPS. The guy actually saved me $3.50 by recommending the flat rate priority box. I need a post office flag or something to put up on holidays instead of the red white and blue.) I only intended to stop by the farmers market to pick up staples (baby greens, heirloom tomatoes.) But every week I’m blown away by all the new arrivals! Crazy california with its overflowing bountiful conucopia of produce. Eventually I plain ran out of cash, but not before acquiring too much fruit. And amaranth greens!! You remember my fascinating nutritional profile of amaranth a few posts back...well the greens were touted as even more nutritious, if such a thing were possible. I despaired of ever seeing them in the flesh, and then lo and behold, the magic of the farmers market. But, I digress. The single most important event of recent history, I picked up some squash blossoms! I rushed them home and stuffed them just like I learned in Italy. So. Good.
Go in for the closeup at the recipeblog.

Can’t wait to steal some from the HGP tomorrow, and try other recipes. Apparently they’re traditional in Mexican cooking too...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Photo fundraiser

Do you like pretty travel pictures? Do you like donating money to good causes? Well, here's a good deal for you. You may remember I met some great girls whilst traveling in Vilcabamba (another set of Katie/Rebecca). They were on their way south to Chile to do volunteer work in Santiago. Now they're at the tail end of their stay and they're doing a fundraiser. (Mostly to fund their own work, with some going to support a project to build a kindergarten.) Sadly, keeping volunteer efforts in south america going is so dependent on these kinds of private donations. And they have some gorgeous photos of their travels in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina. So if you're feeling at all in the spirit, think about helping out. The way it works is you donate a minimum amount, and choose one photo for them to print and send you. ($15 for an 8x10, etc)

I would consider a similar effort, except my photographic chops do not compare :)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Everyone is 25 except me, or Happy Birthday Richard!

His day appears to have centered around thai food, bbbq, and brownies. Not too shabby. And yet I was dismayed to learn he hasn't yet received a single present! My own real present is heading into the mail tomorrow, which is a big improvement over my usual 2-month lag. For more immediate gratification, I offer this card. Go forth, readers and friends of Richard, and send your birthday wishes!

(click for larger image)

In the news. (ooh, i even get to talk about altitude again!)

- well it's 7/7/7 and everyone wants to get married. isn't that cute. ugh. thank god i won’t be around to read those human interest stories next century. 6/6/6 was way more fun. But they did announce that silly new 7 wonders of the world thing, and I was surprised that I’ve been to 3 of them! Don’t know that I’m likely to make it to any of the others. (Though I bet between the rest of you dear readers we cover the whole list, so I’ll just live vicariously. )

- yeesh, that's one way to reform...
China Sentences Official to Death for Corruption

SHANGHAI, July 6 — For the second time in three months, a former high-ranking official at China’s top food and drug watchdog agency has been sentenced to death for corruption and approving counterfeit drugs, the state-run news media said on Friday.

- Aww, game on for quito and la paz! FIFA had already relaxed the ridiculous new high altitude ban from 2500 to 3000 meters, which let in quito (at 2812) and bogota (2640), but not La Paz (4070) or Cusco (3555). Good thing Evo's a big man on campus these days and can pull ze strings for the andean counties. (Seriously brazil and argentina, you're the big shot teams, what are you whining about a little altitude for? just leave those poor little countries alone.)

- Ah Harry Potter mania, I was wondering when you'd kick in. Suddenly it seems like everyone and their mother is rereading the books. I realized that after buying the spanish edition of the last book the day it was released, just before Carnaval last year, i only got halfway through. Normally I wouldn’t feel the need to fuss, but I’m working the magic day! We’re not doing the midnight thing, but rather a breakfast thing complete with a reading of the first chapter! So, el misterio del principe, it's just you and me for the next 2 weeks.

- I gave into the urge to cut my own hair tonight, knowing it could only end badly. It's only irreperably short on one side... heh.

- We are awash in plums out here. Like tribbles.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Look, I'm a sheep!

Baa, I have a gmail account! I haven't abandoned wes, and will probably just forward the gmail there for now. But the spam encroaches every day (lately it's all UK lottery "winnings" of all things), and they like to disable my account whenever someone send me lots of photos, and I forget the password for my old backup account. I've been meaning to do this for awhile, but it took me forever to find a name that wasn't taken - I wanted just plain rledwards like my wes account, but with my stupid generic name the closest i could get was something like edwardsrl347492. And if I had a recurring nightmare, I think it would involve being forced to send important email from, you know? Anyway, for now you can find me at rebecitacooks at gmail dot com. Email me, yo! I promise to reward you with, um, my undying love? Oh, I know just how to break in that large server space - my Photoshop for Dummies came in at the library, and I need an excuse to play around with it, so how about I reward you with a pretty graphic? Also, you can get all the lurid non-public details about how I'm suddenly down 2 roommates. Which, adjusting for the 4th enamorado roommate who lives here only in name, leaves... yep, just me holding down the fort on Laurent St. Party!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Happy Canada Day!

Borrow Richard's flag/cape, put Garnet Rogers on repeat, and catch up on some vintage Samantha Bee.

blah blah blah. and photos!

1) I declare a moratorium on the phrase: "... for the myspace generation."

2) Anyone out there watch Heroes? I'm almost done with the first season and am mostly impressed. I ask mainly because flipping through Entertainment Weekly at work I came across the most ridiculously cute picture of George Takei and Masi Oka. Please appreciate the hilarity. Or, why aren't you watching Heroes yet?

3) While I'm making random media commentary, last weekend I watched Rebel Without a Cause and Children of Men. Whoa and whoa. I didn't really know what to expect from the former. After I picked myself off the floor and pretended I could take 24-year old James Dean seriously as a teen icon, my jaw continued to drop - one minute terrible B-movie ripped from the headline-ness (headshrinkers and juvenile delinquents galore), the next, serious existential angst (um, how come my field trips to the planetarium were never that apocalypticly depressing?). God bless 1955. And the latter was sort of everything you hope for from a dystopian thriller. Was totally entranced from the first scene. The premise reminds me of this random french movie I watched when I was home sick from school years ago. (God knows why I chose that one, since it wasn't exactly the feel good movie of the year, especially to my poor young impressionable mind!)

4) And finally, media you may actually be interested in. Or not, since Katie already posted half these. Heh.

I now wash my hands of my road trip photos!
Austin - Friends, obama, alcohol, and singing. What more can I ask of you, texas?
The road west, featuring Aspen.
wmshc 2007 - A geography lesson. Did you know that if you keep driving west, eventually you'll end up back in Northampton?

Speaking of wmshc, i just remembered this is the PVAD/HOA weekend! aww, so many acronyms to be homesick for.